Whisky BBQ Chicken and Secret Spice Rub

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 1 hr 30 min (includes cooling and melding times)
  • Active: 40 min
  • Yield: 2 servings
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One 4-pound chicken (nothing larger)

Cooking spray 

2 teaspoons caraway seeds 

2 teaspoons cumin seeds 

2 teaspoons coriander seeds 

2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns 

1 tablespoon pimento 

2 teaspoons granulated garlic 

2 teaspoons granulated onion 

Kosher salt

Whiskey BBQ Sauce, recipe follows

1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced

Ranch Slaw, recipe follows, for garnish

Whisky BBQ Sauce:

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 cloves garlic, grated or finely chopped

1 small onion, finely chopped 

1/4 cup chicken or beef stock 

3 tablespoons pourable light brown sugar, such as Domino

3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, such as L&P

3 tablespoons cider vinegar, such as Braggs

2 tablespoons hot sauce, such as Frank's Red Hot

2 shots whiskey (get bourbon)

One 8-ounce can tomato sauce, such as Hunts 

Ranch Slaw:

1/4 cup buttermilk

1/4 cup sour cream 

2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

2 tablespoons superfine sugar 

1 tablespoon white wine or distilled white vinegar 

1 teaspoon celery salt 

1 teaspoon kosher salt 

1 teaspoon black pepper 

1 clove garlic, grated 

Juice of 1/2 lemon 

1 small carrot, grated

1/2 small head cabbage (about 1/2 pound) 

1/2 small red onion, grated or minced 


Special equipment:
a double burner grill pan
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Preheat a double burner grill pan to medium-high heat.
  2. To spatchcock a chicken, place the bird breast-side down on a cutting board with its wing tips facing up and away from you. Feel down the back of the bird to find the spine then, using poultry shears or kitchen scissors, cut up and along the spine on each side. Remove the backbone and discard or save it to flavor a chicken stock. Flip the bird over, breast-side up. Place your hands at the center of the breast and press down to crack breastbone and flatten the bird. Trim the wing tips and discard or save for stock as well.
  3. In a small skillet set over medium heat, toast the caraway, cumin, coriander and black pepper until fragrant. Transfer to a spice grinder and grind to a powder. Place the spices in a small mixing bowl and add the pimento, granulated garlic, granulated onion and 2 teaspoons salt.
  4. Shove half of the rub under the skin and sprinkle the remainder all over the outside. Be sure to wash your hands. Spray the bird well with cooking spray.
  5. Place the chicken skin-side down on the grill pan to mark it, and then flip it. Place the chicken on a rack set over a baking sheet and bake until the internal temperature registers 165 degrees F, 30 to 40 minutes. During the last 5 minutes of cooking, baste the chicken with half of the Whisky BBQ Sauce. (Place the other half of sauce in a bowl and pass at the table.) Remove from oven, let cool for 5 to 10 minutes and cut into pieces. Garnish with scallions. Serve with the Ranch Slaw.

Whisky BBQ Sauce:

  1. While the chicken is in the oven, make the Whisky BBQ Sauce. Place a small to medium pot over medium heat and add the oil. Add the garlic and onions, and cook until fragrant and translucent. Add the chicken stock, sugar, Worcestershire sauce, cider vinegar, hot sauce, bourbon and tomato sauce. Bring to a simmer and reduce to thicken, about 30 minutes.

Ranch Slaw:

  1. In a medium mixing bowl, stir together buttermilk, sour cream, chives, dill, parsley, sugar, white wine vinegar, celery salt, kosher salt, black pepper, garlic, lemon juice and adjust the flavor if needed. Add carrots, cabbage and red onions. Stir to combine and let hang out for flavors to come together. Set aside.
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